Tom Hagerman – Idle Creatures

There is addition by subtraction, when a band strips its sound down and gets to the core of it, yielding a rawer, truer vibe. Then there is simply subtraction by subtraction, when a band takes away something essential to its music, leaving it with less than it started with. Tom Hagerman, the violin, accordion, piano, Melodica man of DeVotchka, has … [Read more...]

Memoryhouse – The Years EP

When Memoryhouse’s first incarnation of The Years dropped in February of 2010, it was the recipient of overall critical approval. Referential qualities to dream pop progenitors like the Cocteau Twins? Check. Just enough scrappy electronic drum loops to bestow it with lo-fi cred? Sure. Wistful and sprawling in all the ways that made chillwave such a … [Read more...]

Talkdemonic – Ruins

A ruin is the remains of something destroyed – as one might suitably label. But when you consider a ruin, it stretches further beyond the physical aspects we envision. Portland tandem Kevin O’Connor and Lisa Molinaro subtly offer Ruins with embellished instrumental music that stretches to a sonic landscape of sweeping arrangements. There’s a … [Read more...]

James Blackshaw – Holly

September 30 saw the release of a new EP by James Blackshaw, one of my favorite guitarists. The 29 year old British instrumentalist has finished a recent and extensive stint of  touring and offers us two tracks that recall his early days. Holly has the flavor of  2005's Celeste/Sunshrine release by  Bo' Weavil, a sound that Blackshaw had departed … [Read more...]

Hauschka – Salon des Amateurs

Striking the iron while it’s hot always seems to be one of the brightest of ideas. For musicians, many dive into a new release after an erstwhile album is still fresh in the minds of various fans. While few would be quick to say some are cashing in, it’s undoubtedly one of the best ideas that, if done well, can truly create wonders. And now, … [Read more...]

Ensemble – Excerpts

On Björk’s 2004 album Medúlla, Ensemble’s Olivier Alary assisted in co-writing “Desired Collection” with the Icelandic singer. And while it’s Björk’s magnificent voice that sparkles over the corruptive synth-line that sounds like something off The Eraser, pleading, “How am I going to make it right?” the presence of Alary stands out on one of that … [Read more...]

Hassan Erraji – Awal Mara

With a steadfast love for music and an incredibly strong feeling for continuing to diverge and explore new grounds, Hassan Erraji has returned with a new album of brightly innovative sounds. The Moroccan musician assembles a grand arrangement of instrumentalists and vocalists to deliver a world of color on Awal Mara. Directly translating to “love … [Read more...]

Hauschka – Foreign Landscapes

Fluidity and seamlessness seem to go hand in hand. It's a great accomplishment for an artist to find a certain flow in their writing that captures the seamless transitions most often found in regular life. For Hauschka’s Volker Bertelmann, music has always been the extension of his voice into a melodic line. And with a musical voice that is always … [Read more...]

Goldmund – Famous Places

You know what Goldmund is good at? The piano. Really good. Keith Kenniff is a piano virtuoso from Portland, Oregon who plays under the aforementioned moniker. Famous Places is probably going to be the easiest review I've ever done, so here we go. Armed with only his piano and the aid of some really light, yet piercing synth, Kenniff constructs a … [Read more...]

Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz

In many ways, it’s as if everything was planned for this kind of moment. For so many years people flocked the web and internet with supposed official news that Sufjan Stevens was never to make music anymore. He merely contributed stunning work for The National and for the Dark Was the Night compilation, while making time to write a documentary and … [Read more...]